WASHINGTON — A senior U.S. official says ally Colombia has been letting down its guard in the war on drugs as it attempts to strike a peace deal with leftist rebels.
William Brownfield is the State Department’s top anti-narcotics official. He said in Senate testimony Thursday that Colombian government has been absorbed by negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and are careful not to do anything to complicate those talks. He says the rise in Colombian cocaine output is “disturbing.”
The FARC relies heavily on the cocaine trade, but has agreed to assist the government in eradication efforts once a peace deal is signed.
The rebels have sharply criticized U.S.-backed aerial eradication programs to destroy coca crops with chemical herbicide. President Juan Manuel Santos ended the two-decade-old program in 2015.